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How many microprocessors are in your home, total?

Displaying poll results.
323 votes / 0%
  5603 votes / 11%
  10092 votes / 19%
  12850 votes / 25%
Too many
  20815 votes / 40%
0, but multiple slide rules
  1212 votes / 2%
50895 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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How many microprocessors are in your home, total?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @01:42AM (#34990832)

    available answers (i know, not supposed to complain) assumes that having more than 20 is too many.

    I humbly submit you can never have too many.

    • by Magada (741361)

      Not really. I have at least one too many - in the form of a boxed 2001-vintage Athlon XP that I'll probably never use.

    • by tverbeek (457094) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @04:54PM (#34999308) Homepage

      How can anyone be confident that they have 20 or fewer? Between obvious things like computers (typically two or more processors each) and smartphones, there are processors in DVRs, DVD players, MP3 players, notsosmartphones, radios, answering machines, digital picture frames, microwave ovens, clocks, thermostats, and yes probably even some toasters.

    • by DaveAtFraud (460127) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @05:56PM (#35000128) Homepage Journal

      Come on folks. EVERY device in your house that has a LED or liquid crystal display has at least one microprocessor in it; probably more than one. Here are a few things to consider in your count:

      cell phone(s)
      wireless phone (has two; one in the base, one in the handset)
      answering machine
      microwave oven
      DVD player
      VCR (some of still have one)
      CD player (and even one of these)
      MP3 player
      Digital clock radio
      digital thermometer
      bread machine
      wrist watch
      GPS (we have two)
      cable box or satellite dish
      digital camera(s)
      programmable thermostat

      and, if you have an attached garage (which I assume means its part of your home), your cars have a whole bunch of microprocessors if they're not considered a "classic."

      Now go back and count again.


  • by Anonymous Coward

    I counted the garage. There are at least four in there.

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      Add all the other storage facilities around you that you can access...

      But don't forget laundry machines and similar items.

      B.t.w. I do have a few slide rulers too.

  • by adenied (120700) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @01:55AM (#34990882)

    With nearly every electronic product one purchases these days being chock full of processors, I had to pick "too many". But really, is it?

    • Agreed.
      2 cell phones, 1 microwave, speakers, DSL modem, wireless router, 4 computers (11 cores total, plus each one has a PMU with a microprocessor, and maybe others as well), various digital timers/watches/clocks, a car (which probably has on the order of dozens...), 2 bicycle odometers, a digital multimeter... The list goes on and on.

      One could make an argument about a distinction between microprocessors and microcontrollers, I suppose. But there's not a particularly clear distinction, considering that a l

    • by dgtangman (140663)

      I picked "11-20", but I suspect I low-balled the count by ignoring, among other things, the car (!), the programmable thermostats, the pocket calculators, the digital clocks, the CRT monitor and TVs, and probably a few miscellaneous bits that I simply forgot. "Too many" would only apply if some of the processors would be better replaced with simpler controls or simply eliminated altogether, and I can't point to any that fit that criterion at the moment. Well, with a few exceptions that are only being retain

      • by tomhudson (43916)
        So I guess you and the GP are both living in your cars, since most people keep their cars in their garage, driveway, or elsewhere than in their home :-p


    • by rubycodez (864176)
      only those living in abject poverty would have less than 20 around them. Of course, I realize that includes most college students
    • With nearly every electronic product one purchases these days being chock full of processors, I had to pick "too many". But really, is it?

      Traditionally, a microprocessor is a "multi-programmable" device that can be loaded with general purpose software, whereas a microcontroller is, by definition, a single-purpose chip. They may possess similar capabilities w.r.t. processing power, interfaces, etc. So the distinction is the limitation as to how the device can be used. Can it run a word processor, a spreadsheet, etc., without that application being pre-loaded? So an engine controller in a car, while it can be updated, is a micro-controller. The

      • by xero314 (722674)

        Traditionally, a microprocessor is a "multi-programmable" device that can be loaded with general purpose software, whereas a microcontroller is, by definition, a single-purpose chip.

        This is so completely wrong it's probably not worth my time to correct it, but here goes.

        To put it simply a microcontroller is a microprocessor with additional on die features, usually including memory (RAM and ROM), I/O and clock generator. All microcontrollers are programmable, and many are re-programmable, but this depends on the form of memory used for the ROM (ROM, EPROM, Flash, etc.). The PIC family of microcontrollers by Microchip, is one of the, if not the, most common microcontrollers on the mar

  • by tirerim (1108567) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @01:57AM (#34990892)
    ... and multiple slide rules.
    • Re:More than 20... (Score:4, Informative)

      by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @05:07AM (#34991642) Journal
      Only one slide rule in our house. However, when I used it to count the microprocessors, the slide rule almost overflowed...

      There's at least a dozen microprocessors and microcontrollers in the garage/workshop and a couple more in the garden shed, but none yet in the greenhouse. Our technical room alone has about a dozen of the things (server + 5 disks, router, optical switch, 2 ethernet switches, UPS), and there's another dozen-ish in the utility room and kitchen (laundry, sewing machine, heat pump, water heater, ventilation systems, 3 freezers, refrigerator, 2 microwaves, stove). The house also has various digital clocks, thermostats, and wired & wireless sensors. Then there are the actual PCs, of which we have 4 right now, each containing multiple microprocessors (CPU, GPU) and microcontrollers (network, firewire, USB), with 1 printer, 1 multi-function network printer/scanner, another ethernet switch and another 2 UPS boxes. Ah, nearly forgot the living room with its PS3, IPTV digibox, "smart" TV, DVD player, VHS player, and yet another ethernet switch. There are also several mobile devices (6 cellphones, 4 MP3 players, 2 video/MP3 players). I have no idea how many microprocessors are in the cars, but they both have SatNav systems.

      Depending how you count, it's getting close to 100 even without the cars' built-in devices.
    • Oops. Forgot the handful of books with log tables in them.

  • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @02:04AM (#34990920)
    I find space heaters...a waste of space. Seriously, I'd rather heat my house with server racks and get some usable performance out of my heaters...than just heat.
    • by harddriveerror (1623145) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @02:29AM (#34991024)
      use mine for my personal sauna. But when I pour water on them, I get steam, but services quit working.
      • by TheCarp (96830)

        You should use Cisco gear then.

        Not sure how it works for various values of "water" (content of water can greatly effect conductivity) but, at a previous job.... we had a data closet in a basement that flooded. The network engineers came in to find it.... completely underwater... but still functioning and passing packets!

        If I remember the story right, one of the admins nearly had a heart attack as the other one jumped into the water and pulled the power from the device. Can't say as I remember what model of

    • My furnace has a microprocessor in it, which needs to be rebooted on occasion, you insensitive clod!

      And my washing machine and dishwasher as well. I find it amusing that microprocessors (and multilayer circuit boards) have replaced clock-motor driven camshafts actuating Cherry switches.
      • It occurs to me that in this day-and-age of quartz clocks everywhere, many of you kids who should get the hell off my lawn don't know what a "clock-motor" is. In olden times, electric clocks used the 50 or 60 cycles in the mains current as their frequency reference. Add a gear reduction, and you had a clock.
  • I think our toothbrushes even have brains.
    Our microwave
    5 computers
    Some of the monitors, if not all
    Ipods, 5 of them
    TV, cable box, Wii, DVD player
    Heck, even 2 of our sewing machines are computer controlled (both are pretty old too)
    Many more I'm sure

  • The chip in my iPod Touch?
    The chip in my cell phone? My wife's? My old Palm Treo that I never use? The old cell phones we no longer use?
    The chip in the radar? (Oh yeah, I live on a boat.)
    The chip in the microwave?
    The chip in my multi-function printer?

    "Microprocessor" is a very generic term. Heck my 1992 Subaru has several microprocessors in it! Where do you draw the line?

    • by mikael_j (106439)

      I decided to vote as if only "regular" CPUs counted. Still came to more than a dozen though.

  • There are microprocessors probably in just about everything:

    remote control
    light bulbs
    air conditioner
    dsl modem
    dsl router

    i will assume nowadays that all electric consuming equipment will have a microprocessor in it.

    at the same time, these equipment may have multiple microprocessors in it as well.

    • router
      dsl router

      Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto! You're beautiful!

      • by john_uy (187459)

        oops... hahaha

        thinking of modem

        but i guess my subconscious was thinking of another. :))

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        router dsl router model etc...

        Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto! You're beautiful!

        Most model's CPUs are one bit short of a byte

  • by NixieBunny (859050) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @02:39AM (#34991066) Homepage
    I have a home business building Nixie watches and oscilloscope clocks, so I have hundreds of PICs and HC908s in tubes and reels.
  • 20 is too many??? (Score:3, Informative)

    by mrspecialhead (211339) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @03:30AM (#34991264)

    Anyone who answers LESS than 20 is either very spartan or not counting very carefully. Practically all kitchen appliances, any LCD monitor, any TV, every mobile phone, portable music players, media players, game consoles...all times however many chips are actually in the thing!

    I easily got to 25...without even counting the desktop/laptop computers!

    • From rather more obvious to less so:

      • computers (cpus, gpus)
      • video games (main, portable, or stored in boxes)
      • phones* (smart, dumb, or even house)
      • portable players (ipod, kindle, cd, dvd, etc.)
      • media players (dvd, cd, dvr, blue ray)
      • tv receivers (cable box, etc.)
      • tvs, monitors
      • routers, modems, printers, scanners, peripherals
      • cameras
      • calculators
      • gpss, odometers, pedometers
      • wireless/bluetooth anything (e.g., keyless doorknobs, ear buds)
      • talking anything (e.g., toys, answering machines, birthday cards)
      • musical instruments (
    • by geekoid (135745)

      are chips and processors the same thing?

  • This poll sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <> on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @04:15AM (#34991416) Homepage Journal

    You might as well ask how many springs there are in my house..

  • Open up a wireless mouse, they have at least a half dozen chips in there.
  • by commlinx (1068272) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @05:13AM (#34991672) Journal

    I threw out a handful of Intel 4004 chips which I later discovered were fetching quite a bit as collectors item. These were the gold and white items as well that looked pretty cool by modern standards and were most valuable.

    It was the era of $2 microcontrollers and I tossed them from my parts drawers at the stage I knew I'd never realistically use them for anything practical.

  • by PyroMosh (287149) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @05:15AM (#34991690) Homepage

    so I didn't come up with a number in the hundreds, I chose to assume that:

    1. This is counting chips, not cores.
    2. Only general purpose, programmable CPUs capable of running arbitrary code are included (e.g. a typical Microwave Oven's CPU would be excluded because it can't run new software)
    3. CPUs must be functional and ready to run. (The old AMD K6-2 chip in a drawer doesn't count, as it's not even complete)

    I came up with the following list:

    1. My desktop
    2. My GF's desktop
    3. Our roommate's desktop
    4. Notebook
    5. Cheapo Netgear Wireless Router
    6. Our File / print / media server
    7. NES
    8. SNES
    9. N64
    10. Dreamcast
    11. GameCube
    12. PS2
    13. Wii
    14. XBox 360
    15. Virtual Boy
    16. Gameboy Advance SP
    17. Gameboy Advance SP
    18. Gameboy Advance SP
    19. Gameboy Advance SP
    20. My Nintendo DS Lite
    21. GF's DS Lite
    22. Motorola MPx220 Windows Mobile phone
    23. HTC StarTrek Windows Mobile phone
    24. HTC Tilt 2 Windows Mobile phone
    25. HTC G-1 Android Phone
    26. Amazon Kindle

    There may be others, but this is what I'm aware of off the top of my head.

    Even by this admittedly conservative definition, I came out in the "too many" camp.

    • I come up with this:

      1. My desktop (two cores + powerful "gp" gpu, count how you will)
      2. Eeepc 901 laptop
      3. HTC Wildfire Android phone
      4. Nintendo DS
      5. Gameboy Advance SP
      6. Xbox 360
      7. Wii
      8. Gamecube (in a box)
      9. Arduino!
      10. "Router" (mini-itx linux box)
      11. Netgear "Router" (only used as an AP, and not really even up to that task)
      12. Amstrad 5086 (8MHz, don't ask)

      And the broken stuff:

      1. File server (x2 cpus)
      2. ZX-81

      I voted 11-20.

    • CPUs must be functional and ready to run. (The old AMD K6-2 chip in a drawer doesn't count, as it's not even complete)

      I came up to 26, without counting the various routers/switches (oh, and the network streamer, TV STB), and this line reminded my of the 3 CPUs i have in a box in the atic...

      (and i actually forgot one more gaming handheld... gaaaah)

      I guess i am well above 30 just counting CPUs (not even GPUs / microcontrollers)

    • by JoeWalsh (32530)

      Exactly. I collect classic game and computer systems, so in addition to the usual modern stuff with microprocessores in them, I have:

      1) Atari 2600
      2) Atari 5200
      3) Atari 7800
      4) Atari Lynx
      5) Atari Jaguar
      6) Magnavox Odyssey^2
      7) Mattel Intellivision
      8) ColecoVision
      9) Atari 1200XL (8-bit computer)
      A) NES
      B) SNES
      C) N64
      D) Sega Genesis
      E) NEC Turbografx-16
      F) GCC Vectrex

      And I have multiples of most of the above, stored away in the basement.

      So I have way, way more than 20 microprocessors in my home, once you add in the T

    • by mcvos (645701)

      Fortunately you're compensating all that high tech gear with a really old fashioned tube TV, fridge, oven, heating system, etc.

    • by TheCarp (96830)

      Why can't the microprocessor in your microwave run "new software"?

      If there is one in there (probably are a few) then, it is really just a matter of flashing the memory, or however the particular microcontroller is setup to take its instructions (some can be reprogrammed via a serial connection)

      Now, this MC is going to be hooked up to some specialized hardware, and it may not be useful to put new code of any kind into it, however, there is no reason it couldn't be done.

      Actually, I was surprised to learn rece

  • FYI, the following common household items all contain microprocessors: PCs; pdas; most mobile phones; fax machines; tvs & videos(in the tuning area); keyboards; music keyboards; many fridges, freezers, washing machines, & microwave ovens; some cookers; Even some remote control units for tvs, etc; All digital Cameras, etc. etc. The humble PC contains a microprocessor in the keyboard, each hd or cdrom, each video card. Even mice have a cpu, and many internal and external devices attached. All non vint
  • Even the Nikon 501 camera I don't use any more has six microcontrollers. I have five AVR microcontrollers in various projects. Six actual working computers. A network switch which presumably runs linux. Various other switches. A microwave oven. A TV and DVD player. Four actual working cameras. An iPod, A DS, a Wii.

    Also one slide rule at home and another at work.

  • Microcontrollers, anyway, and so do digital clocks, the programmable thermostat, and probably the furnace.

    Between them and my actual computers, video game consoles, and Kindle, that's easily "too many" for the poll's purposes.

  • I can count way more than 20 just in this room. Every cell phone, every mouse, every keyboard, every monitor, my nifty Nixie-tube clock, the big LCD wall clock, both of my ham radio transceivers (at least 2 each), the phone, the FAX/printer, my Morse keyers, the cheap little stereo, hell - even the wireless headphones have at least two, one in the USB dongle and one in the headphones themselves. I'll even skimp and not count the couple hundred I have still in tubes, waiting to be put into the kits I devel

  • AND multiple slide rules.
  • by stokessd (89903)

    It seems that everything I own plugs in. A modern car can have dozens of them, even a 10 year old car has several particularly if you have a radio or CD player. Every appliance these days has at least one. There's ones in my washer and dryer, in my furnace, in my water softener, in the thermostat, in the scale in the bathroom, in the electric toothbrush, in my razor (I don't shave acoustic), the list is HUGE.

    Then there's the high performance ones in computers of which there are potentially more than just

  • Pretty much anything that uses electricity might have a microprocessor in it. I think the toaster probably doesn't have one, but I haven't actually opened it up and looked.

  • Being someone who writes code for PICs (from 12c683 to 18f4550 I have hundreds of the suckers in my component stash.

    However, in terms of processors embedded in other things, lessee:
    3 printers, 4 laptops, 5 desktops (not all switched on), every one of the 20 or so disk drives,
    4 monitors, 3 phones, network hub, ADSL, 5 keyboards, I guess there's a processor in each of the 7 or 8 mouses.
    The TVs must have a couple each, the SKY box, the DVD players, the networked disk, video camera, digital camera *4

  • Microprocessor: integrated circuit semiconductor chip that performs the bulk of the processing and controls the parts of a system.

    As far as I know, a modern household has at least 20 of those. Lets see... I have my: furnace, thermostats, oven, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, fridge, freezer, security system, carbon monoxide detector, smoke alarms, alarm clock, coffee maker, stereo, TV, audio DAC, Bluray, game console, volt meter, two desktops, laptop, computer monitor, printer, computer sp

  • Too many to count.
  • some slide rules.

  • A chip is NOT a processor.
    A disappointing amount of posters done's seem to know that.

And on the seventh day, He exited from append mode.


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